Once at the Vaults, the atmosphere is, as usual, laid back and cosy, posh and comforting.
|The oldest building in town.|
With a cellar in use since the 16th Century.
64.53 12yo 2001 Retro and Kitsch (57.2%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill Bourbon Barrel, 232b): missed out on this one in London, the other day. Now is the time to catch up. Nose: flowers essence (daffodils spring to mind, but it could just as well be forsythia), white pepper and a bit of mustard -- quite strong on the nostrils, in fact. Mouth: hot grape juice, with more ground white pepper straight off the mill, hot English mustard. Once the alcohol wanes out, bakery sweetness settles in, éclair territory. Finish: very milky chocolate, now, invading and smooth, with a sprinkle of wine vinegar. This is lovely! 8/10
80.1 11yo 1978/1990 (56.8%, SMWS Society Cask): an old glory that was offered at a tasting recently; the members' room has the leftovers -- oh! not much of it, mind. Too good an opportunity to pass. Nose: seems very neutral at first nosing. At second nosing, it seems to contain a lot of grape seeds. Lemon tart, lemon curd, even Victoria sponge cake, but mostly the bitterness of grape seeds. Rather unusual. With water, pretty much the same. Mouth: green-chilli-infused milk. It takes a bit of time to feel the chilli (hence green, the well-known time-bomb chilli), but once it is there, it is quite damaging. With water, the mouth remains fiery. Finish: white grapes, milk chocolate and white spirit. This has potential, but it is too strong, neat. The bitterness is quite intense. With water, more milk chocolate, yet again, it remains wild. This one is more interesting than good and less good than the far more recent 80.6, but an interesting dram it certainly is! From an era when SMWS was bottling fierce stuff young, and thought turning blind was preferable to adding water (they still do, I suppose). 6/10
|The rather cosy bar|
|"I can have euh,|
6.2 12yo 1974/1987 (62%, SMWS Society Cask): another old glory, this. Not sure how it ended up here, but delighted, as I have never seen a Macduff from the SMWS before, and it is a rare-ish distillery to begin with. Nose: a leather workshop, shoe polish on all kinds of leather belts and boots. Stewed prunes too, as well as a platter of seafood. Mouth: quite tame at first (remember that 64.5% Inverleven!), then black pepper (lots of it) and game casserole, hot and saucy. With water: orange comes out more assertively. Finish: oomph! Hot and drying, sticky like a napalm bomb (not that I ever tasted one). OXO broth, Marmite, biltong (Pistorius, if you're reading us...) Big and meaty, with lots of pepper. A good example of strong sherry maturation. The recent Cadenhead bottling was probably more balanced, but this is good too. 7/10
We have a soup of the day (tomato) and sandwiches (chicken and mayo for JS, brie and tom salad for me).